Unions before the Bar: Historic Trials Showing the Evolution of Labor Rights in the United States

By Elias Lieberman | Go to book overview

- 10 -
When Picketing Meets "Due Process" (1916-1921)

TRUAX V. CORRIGAN

I

In the year 1911 the territory of Arizona applied for admission as a state of the United States. With the application for statehood it submitted its proposed constitution for approval as procedure required. It appeared that the proposed constitution contained some provisions which were considered radical, such as the initiative, the referendum, and the "recall of judges." William Howard Taft, then president of the United States, refused to sign the bill giving statehood to Arizona until the "recall" provision of its constitution was eliminated.

Arizona complied and removed that provision from the proposed constitution. However, in 1913, after Arizona had become a sovereign state, its legislature promptly adopted the "recall of judges" as its fundamental law. President Taft's original objection to the Arizona constitution was thus circumvented. There was nothing Taft could do about it, because he no longer was president, and, even if he had been, Arizona as a sovereign state had the right to enact such a provision in its law.

Eight years later, in 1921, one of the Arizona laws came for review before the Supreme Court. Taft was chief justice. The law in question had been enacted by the same Arizona legislature which had circumvented Taft's objection to the "recall" provision. Taft wrote the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in that case, and found the law unconstitutional.

A psychiatrist might trace the origin of Taft's reasoning in this

-118-

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